WAYNE, NJ – Superintendent of Wayne Schools, Dr. Mark Toback shared with the Board of Education the school district’s first-half safety report which included all reported acts of violence, vandalism, harassment, intimidation and bullying which occurred during the period of September 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 as reported to the New Jersey Department of Education through the Student Safety Data System (SSDS).

“SSDS replaces the former Electronic Violence and Vandalism System (EVVRS),” said Toback. “It also requires each school district to report more, and different data than in the past. For example, all HIB investigations, both alleged and confirmed, must now be reported.”

HIB stands for Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying.

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Because of the different data sets compared to previous reports, Toback stated that it would be difficult to draw any conclusions when comparing this report to previous reports.

Dr. Toback began with a reminder: “In an era where we are constantly reminded by the media that there are alarming incidents that take place in schools, schools still remain one of the very safest places for students to be.”

“Our schools continue to maintain an excellent record of investigation, documenting, reporting, and handling incidents in a timely and efficient manner,” Toback said before reading off the following stats:

For Report Period 1, throughout the district, these incidents, in total were reported:

  • 11 incidents of violence (assaults, fights, and threats, simple),
  • 2 incidents of vandalism,
  • 0 weapons offenses,
  • 10 incidents of substance abuse (substance possession, suspected, refused exam, use confirmed, and sale/distribution), and
  • 17 confirmed incidents of HIB out of a total of 58 investigated alleged HIB for the reporting period.

The seventeen confirmed HIB cases involved the categories of:

  • Race ( 2 ),
  • Ancestry and national origin ( 0 ),
  • Religion ( 1 ),
  • Gender ( 4 ),
  • Sexual orientation ( 0 ),
  • Power imbalance ( 0 ), or
  • Other distinguishing characteristics of students ( 0 ). 

“Cases were investigated by the school-level Anti-Bullying Specialists, with guidance and support by Principals and the District Anti-Bullying Coordinator,” said Toback. “Consequences and remediation efforts for offending students included individual counseling, student and/or parent conferences and discipline in accordance with the District Code of Conduct.”

Toback concluded with: “In addition, each school has instituted programming, including the district-wide initiative, No Place for Hate, intended to reduce bullying and improve school climate.

More good news regarding school safety was announced by the Superintendent: “I’m happy to announce that the Wayne Township public schools will be eligible for $438,895 from the Department of Education to put toward our safety and security initiatives.”

“We have to complete grant by May, but hopefully we will have the funding and we’ll be able to move ahead with a number of projects that we weren’t expecting to move ahead with. So that’s very exciting news for the district,” he said.